Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Cake {Vegan}

Can I make gluten free blueberry lemon cake without eggs and dairy?  Well, this cake is completely vegan, and may very well be the best cake you’ve ever had.

The older that  I get, it seems that my food allergies and intolerances grow worse and worse.  I’d be lying if I said that it was not incredibly frustrating.  Of late, eggs seem to be my biggest enemy.  I have always had a sensitivity to eggs, but I’ve always been able to tolerate them baked into things like cakes and muffins.  Not anymore.

And while I’ve never made a big deal over food allergies, I’ve been working to remake a handful of my favorite recipes to make them egg free and vegan.

The first place that I started was with the most popular recipe on the blog.  Since this recipe went live, it has been the most searched and most downloaded recipe from my site.  It literally has been ranked number one every single day for the past 3 years.  I cannot begin to tell you how many messages and pictures I have received from people who have tried this recipe and loved it as much as I do.  That recipe is Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake (Dairy Free).  It’s nothing short of amazing, and if you can eat eggs, I recommend that you make this recipe (like now).

I used this recipe as a jumping off point, but I made a few small changes and additions.  In the end, this new vegan recipe is light and fluffy and delicious.  I am still amazed that there is no dairy, no eggs, no gluten.  It just does not seem possible.  I cannot stress enough:  technique is important for a successful finished product.

What is a Good Egg Substitute?

I’ve never been one to purchase packaged egg replacers.  There are several all-natural solutions that I prefer to use first.  The solutions below make for good binding agents.  They do not add fluffiness or lightness to the recipe.

  • Applesauce – Many people find great success in using 1/4 – 1/3 cup of smooth applesauce to replace one egg in baking.  It adds no fat to the recipe and adds moisture which translates to delicious moist cake.
  • Bananas – I’ve used pureed banana in lieu of eggs in my pancake and waffles recipes.  I’ve added 1/2 banana to substitute for one egg.  The only draw back to this is that whatever you are baking will have a banana flavor to it.
  • Chia Seeds- I have not tried this substitute yet, but it seems to be effective based on my readings.  You can add 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds with 3-4 tablespoons of warm water.  Allow this to sit for a few minutes to thicken.
  • Flax Meal – I just began using flax meal again.  It used to be my go to substitute many years ago.  Frankly, I have no idea why I stopped.  I prefer to purchase flax MEAL.  Meal is basically ground flax seeds.  You can certainly buy whole flax seeds and grind them yourself (like in a dedicated coffee grinder that you do not use for coffee).  The recipe that follows uses flax meal, and boy, oh boy, was it successful.

Bob's Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal

Baking Soda and Vinegar in Baking

Using an egg replacer mentioned above will only solve part of your egg replacement problems.  Eggs do two things:  bind and fluff.  Flax, Chia, applesauce, and pureed fruits do the work of binding a recipe’s ingredients together, but they do not add any height or fluff to the finished product.

Well, some basic elementary school chemistry comes in very handy when you want to make your baked goods light and fluffy.  Welcome baking soda and vinegar to the party.  Combine these two together and you will get an instant chemical reaction (think homemade volcano science fair project – without the mess).  You can use this reaction to your advantage, but you must keep a few things in mind.

  • Once you mix the baking soda and the vinegar together, you must minimize stirring of the batter after that point.  When you begin to mix or stir the batter after this point, you will knock nearly all of the air out of your batter.  You will basically cancel out the chemical reaction.
  • Make sure that your baking soda is active.  If you plan on using baking soda from a box that has been opened in your pantry for a year, your results will be lackluster.  Baking soda is super cheap.  Just buy a new box.
  • Opt for apple cider vinegar.  I find that using apple cider vinegar does not taint the overall taste of the finished product.

How to Make Gluten Free Vegan Blueberry Lemon Cake

This cake is easy to make, but there are a few unique steps.  Technique is important in this recipe.

  • Line a 9″ x 5″ glass loaf pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place 4 tablespoons of ground golden flax meal into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir in 1/2 cup warm water.  Allow this mixture to sit for at least 5 minutes so the flax can absorb the water.
  • Wash and dry 2-3 large lemons.  I prefer to use organic lemons for this.  Zest enough lemon to yield 2 tablespoons of fresh zest.  Place into the bowl with the flax meal.
  • Juice enough fresh lemons to yield 1/2 cup of fresh juice.  You will likely need 3-4 large lemons (use the lemons that you just zested).  Place the strained juice in a small saucepan.  Reduce the liquid to half to yield 1/4 cup.  You will need to watch the pan to prevent burning.  The liquid will evaporate quickly.  Adjust to prevent burning.  Place the juice into the bowl with the flax meal and zest.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of mild oil.  You can use canola, avocado, vegetable, or even light olive oil.  I do not recommend using coconut oil.  I’ve tested this recipe with it, and the end product is very heavy and oily.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk (the refrigerated kind).
  • Add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup sifted powder sugar.  Using some powdered sugar is important because it usually contains some corn or potato starch.  This starch will help to bind our ingredients together.
  • Mix all of the above ingredients together until smooth.
  • Add in 2 cups of gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum.  I used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure in this recipe.
  • Add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.  Mix together until the wet and dry ingredients just come together.  Do not over mix.
  • Place 1 cup of fresh blueberries into a bowl.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of water or lemon juice.  Add 1 tablespoon of gluten free flour.  Toss together to coat the berries.  Add to the mixing bowl.  Stir until the berries are just incorporated evenly in the batter.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the batter.  Place the mixer on low and mix just until the vinegar is incorporated into the batter.
  • IMMEDIATELY transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Try not to stir.  I like to tip the bowl over the loaf pan on an angle and use a silicone spatula to push the batter into the pan.  You can gently smooth the top of the pan if you’d like.  I also like to press a few blueberries into the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  If you find that the top of you cake is browning too much, you can loosely cover the loaf pan with foil.  By loosely, I mean literally  laying a piece of foil over the top without cinching the sides.
  • Once cooked, you MUST allow the cake to cool completely before serving.  If you cut into the cake too early you’ll have a mess and it will likely be gummy.  I like to make this cake at night.  I leave it on the counter or stove top all night to cool.  It is literally perfect the next morning.  This cake is also incredibly delicious served cold.

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Cake {Vegan}

Amazingly vegan and gluten free, this cake is light and fluffy and full of flavor
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup golden flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (reduced to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk (unsweetened refrigerated variety)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum ( I used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure) (Plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (not frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons applecider vinegar
  1. Line a 9″ x 5″ glass loaf pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place 4 tablespoons of ground golden flax meal into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir in 1/2 cup warm water.  Allow this mixture to sit for at least 5 minutes so the flax can absorb the water.
  4. Wash and dry 2-3 large lemons.  I prefer to use organic lemons for this.  Zest enough lemon to yield 2 tablespoons of fresh zest.  Place into the bowl with the flax meal.
  5. Juice enough fresh lemons to yield 1/2 cup of fresh juice.  You will likely need 3-4 large lemons (use the lemons that you just zested).  Place the strained juice in a small saucepan.  Reduce the liquid to half to yield 1/4 cup.  You will need to watch the pan to prevent burning.  The liquid will evaporate quickly.  Adjust to prevent burning.  Place the juice into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Add in 1/2 cup of mild oil.  You can use canola, avocado, vegetable, or even light olive oil.  I do not recommend using coconut oil.  I’ve tested this recipe with it, and the end product is very heavy and oily.
  7. Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk (the refrigerated kind).
  8. Add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup sifted powder sugar.  Using some powdered sugar is important because it usually contains some corn or potato starch.  This starch will help to bind our ingredients together.
  9. Mix all of the above ingredients together until smooth.
  10. Add in 2 cups of gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum.  I used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure in this recipe.
  11. Add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.  Mix together until the wet and dry ingredients just come together.  Do not over mix.
  12. Place 1 cup of fresh blueberries into a bowl.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of water or lemon juice.  Add 1 tablespoon of gluten free flour.  Toss together to coat the berries.  Add to the mixing bowl.  Stir until the berries are just incorporated evenly in the batter.
  13. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the batter.  Place the mixer on low and mix just until the vinegar is incorporated into the batter.
  14. IMMEDIATELY transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Try not to stir.  I like to tip the bowl over the loaf pan on an angle and use a silicone spatula to push the batter into the pan.  You can gently smooth the top of the pan if you’d like.  I also like to press a few blueberries into the top of the batter.
  15. Bake for 60-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  If you find that the top of you cake is browning too much, you can loosely cover the loaf pan with foil.  By loosely, I mean literally  laying a piece of foil over the top without cinching the sides.
  16. Once cooked, you MUST allow the cake to cool completely before serving.  If you cut into the cake too early you’ll have a mess and it will likely be gummy.  I like to make this cake at night.  I leave it on the counter or stove top all night to cool.  It is literally perfect the next morning.  This cake is also incredibly delicious served cold.

Blueberry Cake

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